Chelsea enter the final round of the Champions League group stage fixtures having already qualified for the knockout phases of the tournament. The Blues were pitted in a tough group alongside Atletico Madrid, AS Roma and debutant Azerbaijan based club Qarabag.
Atletico Madrid failed to turn up for the first matches of the tournament. It allowed Roma and Chelsea to scoop up the points and both the sides now find themselves in comfortable position leaving Atletico’s chances hanging by a thread.
On the final match day for the group, Chelsea’s result will be inconsequential for them. Atletico Madrid will not only have to beat Chelsea but also hope that Qarabag wins against Roma, an unlikely scenario given the fact that they are yet to register a single win this season. For Chelsea, the only incentive would be the fact that should they win they will finish top of their group.
It would mean that they would possibly avoid facing the likes of Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona. However, given the current standings in the tables, it would also mean that they could be facing teams like Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich should they win their group.
A difficult situation for Conte either way, he will not want to spend too much on this match. Chelsea are finding their feet back in the Premier League and Conte will not want his team to divert their attention until February at least when the knockout phases of the Champions League will be underway.
Having presented a near full strength line-up for the match against Newcastle United, Chelsea will be sure to make some rotation for this match in this busy Christmas schedule.
Here is how Antonio Conte will want to set his team up for the Atletico Madrid clash.
Thibaut Courtois is expected in goal again for the Blues. The defensive line is likely to consist of Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and captain Gary Cahill. Victor Moses is likely to hold on to his right wing back spot. Marcos Alonso might be rested for the crucial tie with Davide Zappacosta playing as a makeshift left wing back.
The three-man midfield is likely to consist of Danny Drinkwater playing alongside N’Golo Kante at the base and Tiemoue Bakayoko playing a little ahead of them, replacing Cesc Fabregas, from the weekend.
Alvaro Morata is likely to be the man to lead the line with Willian taking the place of Saturday’s man of the match Eden Hazard, who deserves some rest. Here is how they might lineup: